Tube amp reccomendations?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by boba_fun, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. boba_fun

    boba_fun Well-Known Member

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    I really don't know where to begin. I just need some jumping off points. Anyone have reccomendations of what to pair with this setup?

    Right now im using a music hall mmf 5.3 table, ortofon bronze cart, rega fono mm preamp, onkyo tx nr 626 all purpose media reciever and klipsch reference tower speakers.
     
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  2. displayname

    displayname Well-Known Member

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    Good timing, @HiFi Guy and @Tanqueray were just talking about this.
    But you left out a very key detail... budget?
     
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  3. boba_fun

    boba_fun Well-Known Member

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    I don't even know what's realistic. If i want to sate an immediate need, probably 1 - 1.5k give or take. But if im better suited to put my sights on something and game plan some savings over time, id like to know that as well.
     
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  4. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever owned a tube amp before?
     
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  5. Tanqueray

    Tanqueray Well-Known Member

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    One good thing is you have Klipsch...........easy to drive. You will not need huge power at all. .............How much do you want to spend?
     
  6. Black Hoodie

    Black Hoodie Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to pick up a Prima Luna Tube Integrated for about $1500 if you look hard, even used. Rogue Audio is also very popular and made in the USA.

    If your not against the idea of Chi-Fi, some like the value of Cayin and Yaqin brands but you do roll the q/a dice.

    There is the world of vintage tube like McIntosh, Scott, Fisher. These do usually require some TLC, updating, and patience.

    If your not married to the idea of tube there is some very musical solid state integrated's out there well under 1K from Cambridge Audio, Marantz, Yamaha, and Musical Fidelity.

    For me every time I have heard Tube McIntosh with Klipsch it has just sounded right.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  7. boba_fun

    boba_fun Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, no
     
  8. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    That's not a problem. The reason I asked is because most tube amps need to be adjusted when they are new then every 6 months or so. This is called biasing the output tubes. It requires a digital multimeter and a screwdriver. Freaks some people out, but it isn't hard. I can walk you through it over the phone in 5 minutes.

    But- if you look at a Prima Luna or Mystere amplifier, they have adaptive auto bias. No meters or screwdrivers and the tubes last far far longer. Plug and play.

    In your shoes, this is what I'd do. A great match for your speakers and easy to live with. Not sure if this is a deal breaker, but no remote.

    https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collec...rs/products/mystere-ia11-integrated-amplifier

    https://positive-feedback.com/Issue47/mystere.htm

    https://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/amplifiers/mystere-ia11-213156/review

    Edit: You also will need a phono preamplifier if you don't already have one. Tube amps cost more to manufacture and most of them don't have one built in to keep the cost down. Most external units sound better anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  9. boba_fun

    boba_fun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a ton! Great direction!
     
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  10. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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  11. Black Hoodie

    Black Hoodie Well-Known Member

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    Pick something that connects with you. Let us know what you end up with.
     
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  12. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking both of these would be great choices. No biasing needed. Won't take a resistor out if a tube goes bad. These are quality and appear to be easy to live with.

    I've not purchased anything from Kevin Deal/Upscale Audio- but I probably will. He has a couple of amps I really really like.
     
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  13. boba_fun

    boba_fun Well-Known Member

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    Does the subwoofer output (i have a totem sub) and the linear/triode switching amount to a meaningful enough difference for the 1k extra for the suped up model?

    I like what I'm reading about the Prologue probably more than the other one. And since i have kids, the "cage" is appealing. Hahaha
     
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  14. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    It's more than the triode/ultralinear switch and the sub output.

    Bigger output transformers
    Bigger power transformer
    Better resistors
    Better wiring
    AC offset killer
    More advanced input section- 6 tubes
    Better capacitors

    The bottom of this page has a comparison chart. I think it's worth every penny. I've got my eye on the high powered souped up model.

    https://www.primaluna-usa.com/integrated-amplifiers

     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  15. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    Can we start a PrimaLuna thread and merge it with the Sutherland one?
     
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  16. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, I too have a 5.3 and some of that tube smoothness you crave might benefit from a cartridge change for the TT. I used to have the bronze on my deck and the move to an MC cart with the AT OC9II was a worthwhile jump.
     
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  17. Black Hoodie

    Black Hoodie Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, Sutherland and Prima Luna are two different things really, right ? and this is a thread about tube amps.

    The sub out feature is not a big deal breaker IMHO. Most good subs today (like Rel for example or even a cheap Dayton) you can just run off the speaker leads on one of your main speakers and it works well.
     
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  18. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    I joke.
     
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  19. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    A dedicated sub out can have several benefits. Not all subs, including most high end ones, run off speaker level. So having a dedicated out opens more possible sub choices. Additionally you would be able to run a longer line without as much concern for signal loss. Further a dedicated sub out isn’t going to receive any distortion from the speaker level outs.

    Now some preamps and integrated amps have dedicated High Pass and/or Low Pass filters (aka “crossovers”) so you can blend the sub in to your speakers better. A huge benefit of crossing over the signal to a subwoofer is that the most power hungry signals, usually bass, are being sent to a dedicated subwoofer amplifier and are relieving the main speakers and the amp running them of the strain of driving these. So that leaves more headroom for mid and high frequencies, and the sub handles the low bass.

    While not all integrated amps have these filters, you can purchase outboard crossovers and or equalizers for subs with dedicated sub outs to at least get some of the benefits. I’m not personally aware of outboard EQ’s (or easy to access crossovers) that operate at speaker level.

    Just my $.02.
     
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